Mobility on the move: how is it developing and what should you focus on in order to make your business truly mobile

Wider access and freedom for the workforce requires threat management, as more devices and mobile applications equals increased risk.

Today, mobile devices are everywhere - and more and more applications are flooding the market: mobility is constantly growing, and at a rapid rate. In a report by Gartner, it’s predicted that by 2018, more than 50 per cent of users will go to a tablet or smartphone for all online activities. 

As employees continue to connect their own vast mix of mobile devices to the enterprise, the network has become increasingly complex; monitoring and managing the mobile ecosystem within enterprises has never been so critical. 

And the biggest part of the mobile network is undoubtedly security - as it expands, organisations must ensure all security protocols are updated with it.  The factors contributing towards this massive growth in mobility include:  

Enterprise mobility: the shift towards employees using mobile devices, wireless networks and other mobile computing services in their daily working lives 

Bring Your Own Device (BYOD): employees who bring their own computing devices to use for work in or out of the office 

Micro-apps: small applications designed to be integrated with other applications 

5G development: the next generation of mobile telecommunications standards beyond the current 4G network 

Cloud: Internet based computing model for enabling ubiquitous, on-demand access to a shared pool of configurable computing resources (e.g. networks, servers, storage, applications and services)   

And if we just focus in on enterprise mobility it’s seen its own trends in 2016, including: · 

Security: This continues to be the top priority in all areas due to the delicate balance in allowing workers the freedom to access corporate resources easily, while ensuring there’s sufficient security for vital data.  

BYOD: The latest smartphones and tablets can now be added to the mobile environment straight away – the issue here is whether enterprises’ mobile device management (MDM) solutions can continue to handle the plethora of new devices and operating systems being released.

Manageability: MDM will be an important part of nearly every mobility strategy, whether enterprises aim to ensure an existing solution continues to remain the best fit, or they decide to migrate to a new system to take advantage of different features.

Application development: The mobile-first approach is gaining momentum. According to a recent 451 Research report, 40 per cent of companies plan to prioritise the mobilisation of general business applications over the next two years. And after organisations make those application development decisions, it’s time to think about application distribution and management as part of a larger mobility strategy.  

Where will mobility grow between now and 2017? 

Mobility has seen continuous growth in popularity. A recent study by ISMG states that ‘59 per cent of security leaders describe their organisations as either partially or fully mobile’. As businesses modernise the technology and IT infrastructure they use - what developments can we expect to see in the later months of the year, and how will using mobility affect businesses?  

This increase in mobility is made possible through software and this is leading towards the combination of new technologies, and the ability to work through traditional applications that have a client-server application (which has become the norm for working life and businesses). 

However, instead of just allowing certain employees to work where and when suits them, this trend is growing and affecting more and more of the workforce. 

Just as networking and compute power has been liberated by the advent of virtualisation and software defined networking, today there is an increase in mobility that has led to the growth of the Software-Defined Workplace, or SDWP.  

SDWP combines new technologies that, when used together, can free employees from their specific desks. This approach goes further than simply letting users work from their own laptops or mobile devices - or adding unified communications into the mix - instead, it involves using these technologies as part of a wider strategy when it comes to supporting mobility. 

Enterprise Mobility Management is another important factor in the development of mobility as it’s focused on managing the likes of mobile devices, wireless networks, and other mobile computing services in a business context; it’s at the heart of the process of expanding mobility in the workplace.  

According to another ISMG report, ‘99 per cent of the enterprise workforce now uses mobile devices’, suggesting mobility is attractive to organisations because it enhances productivity and efficiency, due to employees having access to internal and external communications 24 hours a day. 

In 2016 businesses are accepting the influx in technological advances, encouraging the use of BYOD, and empowering workforces through the ‘consumerisation of IT’ – with a single goal of improving the end-user experience.  And these trends will only continue to grow with the likes of 5G, and even 6G, providing the Internet to mobile devices faster and more efficiently. 

As well as ever new and better devices, fueled with greater and greater power efficiency. After all, where would a device be without a copious supply of battery life? Probably slowing down the productivity of the business. 

Without any doubt, this will be the ultimate innovation for mobility - redefining its nature within the workplace and network systems.  It’s increasingly hard for enterprises to stay ahead of all that goes into a mobile strategy: device and carrier selection, deployment, on-going support, security, application development and management, policy management - the list goes on. 

And it might be that some organisations need to enlist the help of one or more mobility providers to support with these activities. But no matter who takes care of the mobile strategy, 2016 is the year for all businesses to update their environment to boost company efficiency and security. 

David Fearne, UK Technical Director at Arrow ECS.

Image source: Shutterstock/Chinnapong